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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

AZ's mental health crisis system ensures response, but can improve accountability

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Friday, July 5, 2024   

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number provides an alternative to 911 for Arizonans experiencing a mental health or substance use emergency.

A new report looked at each state's rollout and found Arizona has done well but can improve in some areas. The mental health advocacy group Inseparable said Arizona's 988 call answer rate sits just below the goal of 90%. The report highlighted Arizona's Medicaid agency sets performance standards for contracted providers and requires them to collect data and share it.

Angela Kimball, chief advocacy officer for Inseparable, said it is all about ensuring those who find themselves in mental health emergencies can get the crucial help they need.

"One of the pieces that we focus a lot on is sustainable financing," Kimball explained. "We recognize that crisis services are something that ought to be available to everyone, 24/7, regardless of their ability to pay, just like we expect fire trucks to come if there's a fire."

Kimball recognized while Congress has provided federal dollars to help bolster local and regional call centers' capacities, funding isn't infinite. She contended states need to develop better ways to support crisis services and not be solely dependent on Medicaid. According to Inseparable, a possible solution could be enacting a 988 surcharge to generate up to $7 million annually in Arizona.

The report showed Arizona's "just serve" approach is making a difference. It provides 24/7 crisis stabilization services without denying care to those with complex or severe conditions. Kimball argued it is important because it ensures a response. Her group contended Arizona policymakers can do more to better promote coordination, measurement and other metrics to optimize crisis response.

"By having these accountability pieces, this allows legislators to oversee the system over the long-haul," Kimball stressed. "And to set up the structures for continuous learning, continuous system improvement."

Kimball added effective crisis services can help people get on a road to recovery but only if the system is built to be sustainable. She commended states who have taken steps in the right direction but acknowledged as a whole, the country has a long way to go.

Disclosure: Inseparable contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Health Issues, Mental Health, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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